Tokyo, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s exports in August slid 14.8 pct from a year earlier to 5,232.7 billion yen amid the lingering coronavirus epidemic, a preliminary Ministry of Finance report showed on Wednesday.
The country continued to see a double-digit percentage fall in exports, although the pace of decline is on a slowing trend.
Exports to China, meanwhile, increased for the second straight month.
In August, Japan logged a customs-cleared trade surplus of 248.3 billion yen, compared with the year-before deficit of 152.2 billion yen.
The result came against the median forecast of a deficit of 14.1 billion yen in a Jiji Press poll of 18 research institutes.
Imports dropped 20.8 pct to 4,984.4 billion yen, reflecting a sharp fall in those of crude oil, liquefied natural gas and other energy-related items.
Exports were down for 21 months in a row. The August fall was milder than 28.3 pct in May, 26.2 pct in June and 19.2 pct in July.
It remains to be seen whether exports are on a recovery trend or just showing some rebounds, a ministry official said.
By category, automotive exports were down 19.4 pct, mineral fuel exports down 68.8 pct, and ship exports down 57.3 pct.
By trading partner, Japan’s exports to the United States dropped 21.3 pct to 936.9 billion yen and those to the European Union shrank 19.2 pct to 476.3 billion yen.
Meanwhile, shipments to China grew 5.1 pct to 1,261.6 billion yen, with those of semiconductor manufacturing equipment up 35.6 pct and those of nonferrous metals up 81.4 pct.
Japan ran a trade surplus with the United States of 373.1 billion yen, down 20.3 pct, while incurring a trade deficit with mainland China of 57.6 billion yen, smaller than 219 billion yen a year before.